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Earthquake hazards: a national threat

February 10, 2006

Earthquakes are one of the most costly natural hazards faced by the Nation, posing a significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 States. The risks that earthquakes pose to society, including death, injury, and economic loss, can be greatly reduced by (1) better planning, construction, and mitigation practices before earthquakes happen, and (2) providing critical and timely information to improve response after they occur. As part of the multi-agency National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has the lead Federal responsibility to provide notification of earthquakes in order to enhance public safety and to reduce losses through effective forecasts based on the best possible scientific information.